Nick Cohen holds forth about the supposed rise of anti-semitism on the left. As an example he offers the observation that “Ken Livingstone embraced a Muslim cleric who favoured the blowing up of Israeli women and children, along with wife-beating and the murder of homosexuals and apostates”. Even leaving aside the predictable lies about Dr al-Qaradawi’s views, it’s difficult to see how welcoming a leading Muslim figure to a conference, and defending him against attacks by the right-wing press, constitutes anti-semitism.
It’s also worth noting that not so long ago Jonathan Freedland interviewed Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks for the Guardian. The interview featured the following exchange: “But aren’t there some differences too wide to bridge? Could Sacks ‘hear the voice of God’ from the mouth of a Muslim extremist who approved of terrorist violence? Could he even bring himself to meet such a man? ‘Yes’. Would he meet, say, Abu Hamza, the sheikh of Finsbury Park, a Taliban sympathiser who admits to sharing the views of Osama bin Laden? ‘Yes’.”
I don’t recall Cohen denouncing Dr Sacks for expressing such views, yet when the Mayor of London welcomes one of the leading opponents of Al-Qaida to City Hall, Cohen presents this as evidence of anti-semitism.
And where, I hear you ask, does Cohen’s article appear? Well, it was originally published in the New Statesman, but the folks at Front Page Magazine were so impressed by his arguments that they reproduced his piece on their site. See here
For a detailed reply to Cohen, see Indigo Jo Blogs, 9 October 2005